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Steve Spagnuolo sticking around


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Steve Spagnuolo sticking around

Steve Spagnuolo was on the verge of getting the Washington Redskins' head coaching job, but he withdrew his name to stay with the Giants, who will make him one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the league.


The 48-year-old Spagnuolo will get a three-year deal worth more than $2 million per season, according to an NFL source. That's probably about $500,000 to $1 million less per year than he would have gotten with the Redskins. But according to Spagnuolo's agent, Bob Lamonte, "His heart was in New York."


"He loves the organization. He loves the team. He loves the city," Lamonte said. "At the end of the day, he couldn't leave."


That news came after two long days - and nearly 20 total hours - of meetings at Redskins owner Dan Snyder's estate outside Washington. It thrilled the Giants organization, which was bracing itself for the loss of the man who transformed Big Blue's battered defense into a championship unit. After the way the Giants battered Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII, Spagnuolo emerged as the favorite in Washington.


According to Lamonte, Snyder never actually made an offer, but it's believed that he at least told Spagnuolo one was coming. Then yesterday morning, Spagnuolo returned home to discuss the situation with his wife. A few hours later, he accepted the Giants' deal.


"I appreciated Mr. Snyder giving me the opportunity to visit with him," Spagnuolo said in a statement released by the team. "I have a great deal of respect for him and the Washington Redskins organization. I was happy to have the opportunity to explore that situation, but I am equally happy to be staying in New York."


The big raise, of course, didn't hurt. But it was well-earned. In his first season as the Giants' defensive coordinator, the defense jumped from 25th to seventh in the NFL rankings. They were 11th in pass defense, and had a league-high 53 sacks. Players constantly praised both his even-keeled demeanor, and the attacking, blitz-happy defense he brought with him from Philadelphia, where he was an assistant for his first eight years in the league.


Then when his defense held the highest-scoring offense in NFL history to 14 points in the Super Bowl - the Patriots' lowest total in 25 games - Giants management knew it had to do something to keep him. The Giants were not prepared to name him the eventual successor to Tom Coughlin, nor were they prepared to give him a head coach's salary.


But obviously, since they are giving him a contract worth more than $6 million, they were prepared to go extraordinary lengths. It is believed that Spagnuolo's annual salary will trail only the $2.3 million being paid to new Jacksonville defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (ex-Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers is still owed $2.6 million from Miami).


"I think the deal really is indicative of how ownership feels about him as a coach, as a human being, and as a very, very important part of this team of winners," co-owner Steve Tisch told the Daily News.


Added Coughlin: "He has earned the consideration he is being given. Needless to say, I am happy that he will be remaining here."


From: nydailynews_logo.gif icon_offsite.png - February 8, 2008

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Yes! We're keeping Spags. I thought he was going to leave. Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins is hard to deal with and he knows it. I think he met with them to show the Giants that he is wanted. He knows better to leave to a team that's 8 and 8 the most.

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